“Why has my head gone numb!?”

It is now April, the clocks have gone forward (SUMMER IS ON THE WAY), but it’s really rather cold out.  I’m sure no one needs reminding of that, but it’s really hampering getting out and making some progress on the plot.  Brrrr.

I’m starting to feel like Richard E. Grant in Withnail & I (sadly not demanding the finest wines available to humanity, but just getting irate at the perpetual cold).

Weather - End of March, 2013

The weather at the end of March (BBC).  Good grief.

Still, there is quite a bit to be done despite the unseasonably miserable weather.   I have made dozens (scores? hundreds?) of paper pots from salvaged paper from work – into these have gone:

>  Parsnips (Gladiator, White Gem),

>  Beetroot (Boltardy),

>  Broad beans (The Sutton),

>  Turnips (Snowball).

These will all be moved out into their final positions as the weather improves and as-and-when they get their second set of leaves.  They are currently spending their days on the patio hardening off and their nights in the shed sulking.

Also started off in modules and trays are lots more leeks (Musselburgh, Bleu de Solais), spring onions (White Lisbon, sown in clumps) and some salad leaves (Lambs’ Lettuce, Red Salad Bowl).  Onion sets (Setton) and Shallots (Golden Gourmet) are patiently waiting to be planted out; meanwhile they are sending out roots into module trays in the shed.  I’ll leave these until they have a decent root ball to avoid too much disturbance; then they can go out also.

Other tasks on the allotment have included adding a cardboard mulch between my first-year strawberry plants, which will later be topped with grass clippings to make it look less like a dumping ground.

Banana-box-mulch

Banana boxes, flatpacked and applied as an artificial mulch.  Ugly but functional.  Yes, there are strawberries in the gaps, if they ever take off.

Useful is beautiful, though, right? They will hopefully do a job of keeping the weeds at bay and can sit there and rot down in their own good time.

I’ve also gone a little bit Bob The Builder and salvaged some pallets to turn into gangplanks.  I’ve always known that I shouldn’t walk on prepared soil, but somehow I manage to trudge across without thinking occasionally.  These will hopefully stop me wrecking the ground I intend to grow in.

Gang planks

Avast, ye! Walking the plank…

The forecast looks a little better after this weekend and towards the end of next week (DOUBLE FIGURES during the day, and hovering just above 0ºC at night.  Maybe I’ll get to put out some of my fledgling crops then.

Fingers crossed.

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